Today is a significant milestone for a seed of an idea that flourished into a sturdy oak.
A corner of a corner of a room operation, now takes pride of place in a Richmond warehouse & office. The House of Bindle was born.
But follow me back to the beginning of this fairy story ten years ago.
A little girl had a little idea.
Catherine wanted to create an online gift business that was aesthetically beautiful with locally sourced products. There was an ethical consideration apart from anything else - how to present to the Australian ‘landscape’ a gift product that had nothing to do with foreign influence. The tyranny of distance in fact became the privilege of proximity.
In our own back yard were amazingly talented craftsmen and producers who warranted attention and support. Goodbye foreign shores and hello Victoria, a decision which proved to be a godsend in the last few years, as the pandemic bit and supply chains were heavily impacted.
At the very beginning a downstairs cupboard in a rental apartment served as storage, and the kitchen table was used for boxing and wrapping. Bindle was then a one-woman operation, and despite working full time Catherine found herself having to be “creative” in how she managed her time. That often involved catching maxi taxis to work, with Bindles to deliver in the back seat.
Catherine then relocated the business to a cage in a storage shed, as cold as a mother-in-law’s kiss in winter, with lights that needed to be manually turned on every ten minutes, and entailed groping along walls in the dark to find the light switch, and not flipping out at the ghoulish figures flitting through the space. This alone had its own challenges, namely, would she live to see the light of another day?
From there the entire operation was relocated to the garage in a townhouse rental, and after outgrowing that, to an old plumbing factory which was light on security and leaked like a sieve in winter. The landlord for this less-than-ideal space, was a hybrid of a Russian KGB agent and a Mafia hitman, meaning NOT EASY.
It was time to call the shots and make a proper home for Bindle. An inner-city warehouse within spitting distance of home became available, slick enough to entertain clients, and roomy enough to provide office and storage space.
Additional space warranted additional staff to meet the growing demands of the business. This may be the perfect opportunity to pay homage to these extraordinary and talented people, who have come on board in the last few years and been the backbone of the business. Today Bindle boasts a staff of eleven, and it is fair to say that Bindle has come of age.
In a succession of milestones Bindle now qualifies as Bcorp Certified. In other words, a business that meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. This acknowledgment is a culmination of Catherine’s initial ethical consideration in establishing the online business ten years ago.
As an aside but no less important, is the inspiration that is drawn from the wonderful people involved in local charities. We acknowledge and celebrate the work of Berry Street; OzHarvest; Melbourne Indigenous Transition School; Launch Housing and Beyond Blue.
It would be wonderful to crystal gaze and to see what another ten years brings, but for now, it’s enough to marvel at the ten that have been the Bindle journey thus far.
Had Catherine known what was ahead of her would she have embarked on this journey – yes probably, because she has a curious and tenacious nature. Some would say bloody stubborn, and never one to back down. Naturally mistakes were made and there were the inevitable setbacks, but equally goals were met, often surpassing expectations.
Through all this Catherine somehow found time to find “the one”, after stubbing her toe several times in front of an open goal. “The One” and she have produced two beautiful babes with vastly different personalities, but endlessly entertaining. Suffice to say the sleep deprivation associated with “smalls” is for now in the past tense.
On reflection it has been a heady ten years. The unheralded, not to mention unwelcome arrival of a pandemic threw the world into upheaval. We learnt to roll with the punches, to manage expectations, to embrace hope when all around was despair.
The future none of us can predict, least of all Catherine, but the plan is to continue on the same trajectory and smash any ceilings encountered.
At Bindle HQ we are still standing, still smiling, still hopeful.
Fun times ahead……..